As I have said on this this website numerous times, my tastes in narratives is fairly open-minded. I will give pretty much any story a chance. I am so happy that I did in this case. After seeing a number of comic book and graphic novel bloggers mention The Wicked and The Divine for a while I decided to give it a try. I ran through the entire series thus far in a few hours deeply enjoying every second of it. And now I am going to add to the hype resounding within the blogosphere by writing its praises.
The story is very unique. Or at least it is unique to anything I have ever come across. I don’t think I could give a better synopsis than the one from the Image comics website so I am just going to drop that right about here:
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. Welcome to THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, where gods are the ultimate pop stars. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”
The story grabs your attention right away. In the beginning you follow a god adoring fangirl and her friend who is a skeptic researching the phenomena known as occurrences. The occurrences are those two years during which the gods return in human form. In this instance they return as pop stars which makes sense. What better thing for a god to wish to be in this current time than a pop star with super powers. In a way, that is a very harsh social commentary on the current state of humanity. Of all the things the gods would choose to be when they return in this era they choose to be pop stars. Because, sadly pop stars are probably the most directly influential people in regards to their effect on the general population. But anyways…You are introduced to this fangirl and then shit gets extremely real in a relatively short period of time.
I really like the way the pantheon of gods is imagined and I like that they come from numerous religious traditions. I also like the mortality of immortals. Yes, their lives appear to be eternal but their time in human form is extremely limited. The gods also don’t know they are gods until their powers are revealed by a sort of caretaker of the gods. This caretaker is also responsible for controlling them and guiding them through each recurrence. It’s quite interesting. However, her role also becomes very dubious which in the current chapters brings into the question everything the reader comes to believe about the trajectory of the story. The narrative is not that far along yet so there is still a great deal to be revealed within the series’ universe but it is extremely well set up and thought through which leaves me in tremendous anticipation of what will come next. Especially given where the latest issues leave off. So many different ways in which the story can move. I am hooked. It is a great series and I will be looking forward to what is to come in the near future.
The art is another thing that is really cool. The style is very beautiful and keeps the world of these gods very, how do I say, very fantastical. This is a positive because that is the vibe I believe they have been going for. Not fantastical as in unbelievable, but fantastical as in a way that makes the gods seem so superlative. Like the art is part of the hyperbole of their super-stardom. Difficult to explain. However if you read it you will get what I am saying right away. Now. I also have to say this. The gods are drawn more like late eighties early nineties pop stars than the people in the spotlight today. But their personalities and looks do correlate to a few current and familiar pop stars. They were definitely inspired by a few names that I won’t mention. I say that because although I used the word “definitely” I might totally be wrong. The series also includes some guest artwork where they change up the style.
Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie are producing a deeply imaginative and highly entertaining work of art that is as compelling as it is refreshing.